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Brought to you by John Sciarra, Bernard's Garage - AUTOMOTIVE INSIDER -

BERNARD'S GARAGE - John SciarraSummer's imminent arrival means your vehicle's air conditioning system will soon be under serious strain.

If your A/C isn't as frosty as it used to be, but it's still blowing cold, the system may need to be recharged.

Manufacturers used to use a type of refrigerant known as R-12, or Freon, until researchers found it caused ozone depletion. As such, it's illegal to use Freon in vehicles built after 1994. Now, manufacturers use R-134a to keep things cold in the cabin.

Working on an air conditioning system is about as much fun as sticking your hand in a blender. Twice.

Unless you are skilled in vehicle maintenance, it’s safest to take the job to a professional.

An AC compressor is usually driven by your vehicle's serpentine belt, and as it spins, it pressurizes the system's refrigerant. It's this change in pressure that cools the air coming into your cabin. The best way to keep your compressor from failing is to have your A/C system serviced once a year.

If your compressor needs replacement, most responsible shops will recommend swapping out a number of periphery components at the same time.

Why? The easy answer is working on an air conditioning system is about as fun as sticking your hand in a blender. Twice.

To avoid draining your refrigerant, removing your compressor, installing a new unit and refilling the system with new cool stuff — only to have you come back in a week and say it's still not cold enough — it makes sense to replace the necessary components.

Bernard’s Garage

2036 SE Washington St., Milwaukie



Brought to you by Mike Nielsen of Snap Fitness - FITNESS INSIDER -

SNAP FITNESS - Mike NielsenAs the inspirational saying goes, “Live less out of habit and more out of intent.”

While it’s true that starting a fitness routine can be difficult, I offer the following tips to get you in the gym door and on the road to good health.

Assessment — New SNAP Fitness clients receive a free jump-start session, including consultation with a trainer. The assessment determines the client’s baseline, helps us guide their first steps, and is an opportunity to discuss adding personal training.

Cardio — The national recommendation for exercise for all ages and fitness levels is to get to the gym at least three days per week, and to do a minimum of 30 minutes of cardio per visit. Working out with a friend will make it more fun, help you feel more accountable, help you stay at the gym for more months and achieve a higher level of success.

Strength training is key to replacing fat with muscle, becoming leaner, stronger and improving balance. Do two to three sessions of strength training per week.

Nutritional guidelines — Instead of eating three large meals per day, eat five to six small meals. This will fuel your energy throughout the day and avoid post-meal sluggishness. Also drink 96 ounces of water daily.

Online help — SNAP has a complete online nutritional program and training center. Free with membership, it provides a personalized workout plan, sample menus and a complete library of instruction videos.

Snap Fitness

Milwaukie: 4200 SE King Rd.



Oregon City: 19703 S. Hwy. 213, Ste. 170



Brought to you by Mike Nielsen - Snap Fitness - Fitness INSIDER

Mike Nielsen, Snap FitnessStrength training is an essential part of an exercise program, even for someone who hasn’t been active in a while.

Lifting weights, using weight machines and doing core work increases muscle mass and bone density.

As we age, our muscles deteriorate (called sarcopenia) and bone density decreases.

Research shows that seniors are more susceptible to bone breakage that younger adults. As people age, their metabolism slows down. We are seeing more and more seniors joining gyms.

If we take the average adult between the ages of 40 and 50 and do basic strength-training three to four times per week for 90 days, the outcome can be life-changing.

Here’s a myth-buster: Muscle does NOT weigh more than fat! A pound is a pound. 

Muscle is, however, more dense than body fat and takes up less area than fat. If you were to start an exercise program complete with strength training, you would increase your lean body mass and decrease body fat.

The body takes up less space and metabolism speeds up, resulting in a higher BMR (base metabolic rate, the amount of daily caloric intake needed to maintain LBM and weight.) This reverses sarcopenia and increases bone density.   

Not everyone walks into a gym and knows exactly what to do. Snap gives new members an opportunity to meet with a Certified Personal Trainer, who assesses their body and their goals. 

Let’s get started.

Snap Fitness

Milwaukie: 4200 SE King Rd.



Oregon City: 19703 S. Hwy. 213, Ste. 170



Brought to you by John Sciarra, Bernard's Garage - AUTO MAINTENANCE INSIDER

John Sciarra, Bernard's GarageRegular maintenance on your car is, quite simply, a good investment.

For example, when you bring your car in for a timing belt — typically needed at 90,000 to 100,000 miles— it costs in the range of $400 to $500. But if it breaks, it might be $1,800 to $2,000.

At our shop, when we do it, we do it right. With the timing belt, we also replace the timing belt tensioner, idler pulleys, camshaft seals, water pump and coolant.

Mileage interval maintenance, which is only done by shops, should be done at 30,000, 60,000 and 90,000 miles.

The ideal scenario is to get the car into the shop about three times per year for inspections, which will find things like rodent damage, which is more common than you might think. It’s mainly squirrels in this area.

An inspection will also uncover leaking coolant or oil, as well as plugged-up air filters. Once a year, you should get a brake inspection.

We do complete automotive repair, including pre-purchase inspections for $150. That’s a comprehensive inspection, which can detect unforeseen problems and save you from buying a compromised vehicle.

Our average cost for an oil change is $38; $58 for a brake inspection.

It’s a small investment. We do it properly and can save you a lot of trouble and expense down the road.

Bernard’s Garage

2036 SE Washington St., Milwaukie



Mike Nielsen - Snap Fitness - Fitness INSIDER

SNAP FITNESS - Mike Nielsen“We are a friendly, success-oriented fitness center,” says Mike Nielsen, vice president and co-owner of Snap Fitness locations in Oregon City, Milwaukie and Canby. “We’re like the ‘Cheers’ of the gym world, where everybody knows your name.”

Nielsen has been a certified fitness coach for 13 years and has been with Snap for eight years. He says being a fitness coach is all about helping individuals achieve the best version of themselves.

“It’s not just something that’s done at the gym, but it’s a lifestyle change,” he said of Snap. “We focus on not only the physical but also the mental and emotional aspects of everyday life, to make sure we are able to achieve long-term success.”

He says Snap gyms have a family feel and a personal touch.

The gyms are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with monitored access for safety. Snap has more than 1,500 locations nationwide.

The fitness centers offer cardio, personal training, weight-loss programs, a health center, strength training and Olympic lifting. An online web page for members offers nutrition counseling and an online training center.

“Our members are our greatest assets,” Nielsen added. “We do all we can to make sure they have not only the best facility and equipment, but a wonderful experience.”

Snap Fitness


Milwaukie: 4200 SE King Rd.


Oregon City: 19703 S. Hwy. 213, Ste. 170


Canby: 1109 SW 1st Ave.


Brought to you by John Sciarra - Bernard's Garage - AUTOMOTIVE INSIDER -

BERNARD'S GARAGE - John SciarraAfter nearly 100 years of providing excellent full-service automotive repair and maintenance, Bernard’s Garage is a classic Milwaukie institution trusted by generations of customers.

Founded in 1925, old timers and area residents still remember Joe Bernard Sr., who would design and build custom car parts when his customers’ vehicles needed it. Joe Bernard Jr., a former Milwaukie mayor, helped modernize Bernard’s and continued his father’s tradition of excellent customer service.

The current owner, Jim Bernard, another Milwaukie mayor and current Clackamas County commissioner, has computerized Bernard’s—turning his father’s mechanics into today’s technicians.

Besides providing free pickup and delivery, Bernard’s offers DEQ repair and adjustments, check-engine light diagnosis, manufacturer-scheduled maintenance, brakes, steering and suspension repair, timing belt tune-ups, radiator and water pump work, as well as engine, transmission and air conditioning service.

“We are straight shooters and will let you know what the problem is and what the cost is upfront,” Operations Manager John Sciarra says.

Sciarra, an 18 year veteran of Bernard’s, has attained numerous specialty vehicle class certifications. With 26 years in the industry overall, Sciarra is our INSIDER for automotive excellence.

Bernard’s Garage is a 17-year-long supporter of the Milwaukie Farmers Market, a Milwaukie First Friday participant and frequently donates to the Annie Ross House, Milwaukie Senior Center and other local schools and events.

A member of the Clackamas County Chamber of Commerce since 1955, Bernard’s has been named Business of the Year twice since 2000, and has received the BRAG award from the county for practicing responsible recycling and waste management.

Bernard's Garage 

2036 SE Washington St, Milwaukie, OR.

(503) 659-7722


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'Clock ticking' on Gladstone's new library plan


Gladstone’s effort to relaunch its library project must walk a thin political tightrope on size, funding and location if it wants a hope of getting voter approval.

In November 2012, a ballot measure failed that would have combined the Oak Lodge and Gladstone libraries into a new $10 million facility.

In addition to the ballot hurdle that a May 2012 citizen initiative forced on such projects, any plan would first have to pass muster with Clackamas County commissioners and Gladstone’s elected officials. While only voters within Gladstone city limits will be able to vote on the measure, citizens in the unincorporated Jennings Lodge and Oak Lodge areas want county commissioners to pay particular attention to their voices in approving Clackamas County’s $1.5 million contribution to the proposal.

If there were a combined library for the 39,000 total citizens, Oak Lodge would bring about $736,000 in annual library-district operating income to the Gladstone library’s current $587,386 annually. County commissioners gave Gladstone until June to develop a plan or the city will lose its funding.

The advisory committee is supposed to recommend a plan, and then the Gladstone City Council would have to decide what to do. Out of the 34 people that Gladstone appointed to an advisory committee, only four are Jennings Lodge or Oak Lodge residents, fewer than representatives from the Save Gladstone group that opposed the previous library proposal.

Jennings Lodge community leader Ed Gronke is among the committee members who have viewed the developments with growing concern.

“We are being forced into a direction we don’t want to go,” he said. “If we don’t come to a conclusion that would be palatable to voters, then the ballot measure will fail again.”

Tammy Stempel, who is also chairwoman of the Planning Commission, said that Save Gladstone “has always been 100 percent behind the project for a reasonably priced renovation or library construction” but opposed the $10 million project as too expensive. Saying it was a “shame that Oak Grove residents have been left out of the process,” she is still hopeful that the city will be able to come to a popular solution.

“I thought it would be very divided, but I’m surprised that the majority don’t want a library in the original location and not spend as much money,” Stempel said.

Although the library committee has had to head back to the drawing board on price and location, Stempel is hoping that the upcoming committee meeting Monday evening, March 31, at the Gladstone Senior Center, 1050 Portland Ave., will help find a good possible solution. She thought Gladstone voters might approve a new or renovated library in both Oak Lodge and Gladstone, if Gladstone would be in charge of running both facilities.

“The next meeting is about financing, and I’m hoping that this meeting will bring it down to layman’s terms to see if it’s possible to get a new smaller library in both communities,” she said.

Les Poole, who recently moved to Gladstone after decades living in Oak Grove, estimated that only a narrow majority of fellow advisory committee members favors consolidating the two libraries.

“Most people did not know that the taxing district passing in 2008 would close the Oak Grove library, and that was the start of the problem,” Poole said. “The cat is out of the bag, and the public is suddenly aware that the community is going to lose a library. While it may work for some, it’s really not practical for people in Oak Grove to find their way down to Gladstone, unless Gladstone finds a really attractive location, and the clock is ticking now to find a good spot.”

Jim Martin of Oak Grove pointed out that unincorporated residents pay the same property tax rates into the district, and those funds would go to pay for a new library. But to him, it “seems like a foregone conclusion” that the library will be in Gladstone, since the city is leading the process.

“We’re leaning to one larger library, and given the realities, it probably will be in Gladstone city limits,” Martin said. “We do think that whatever compromise is reached needs to be of adequate size.”

The original proposal on the ballot was a 19,000-square-foot library/community center, and that is still below the revised 2013 Oregon Library Standards. The current 5,100-square-foot Gladstone library is one-half the size needed, and the Oak Lodge library has no space for administration or book processing, both of which are done at the Sunnyside library.

Some members of the Library Advisory Committee want more discussion of a 16,000-square-foot library to meet modern community expectations for a library. Given the political realities, now City Manager Pete Boyce, at the direction of his City Council, has been looking at a 13,000-square-foot library.

Gronke, Martin and Carol Mastronarde have scheduled a citizen meeting on library issues from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, April 2, at the United Methodist Church, 14700 S.E. Rupert Drive, Oak Grove. Organizers will invite representatives of the Clackamas County Commission to attend.